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compitum

Postby humanengr » Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:24 am

Can anyone provide insight on the etymology of "compitum" (crossroad; usu. pl., compita)?

Google Translate offers "com" (together) and "pitum" (is taken) but "pitum" is not in any other Latin dictionary.

The Latin Dictionary at http://catholic.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin ... mp&ending= lists the following words that begin with "compi-":

  • compilatio -onis, f. (a pillaging); hence (a compilation of documents).
  • compilo -are, (to bundle together); hence (to pack up and take off, to plunder, rob).
  • compingo -pingere -pegi -pactum, (to put together, construct); (to confine, lock up, conceal). Hence partic., compactus -a -um, (constructed, built); hence (firm, compact).
  • compitalicius -a -um, (relating to the Compitalia).
  • compitalis -e, (relating to or belonging to the crossroads); "Lares", (the deities who, presided over crossroads). N. as subst. Compitalia -ium and -orum, (the, festival in honor of these deities). [Per WP, Lares "… were guardian deities in ancient Roman religion. … Those who protected local neighbourhoods (vici) were housed in the crossroad shrines (Compitales)."]
  • compitum -i, n. (a place where two roads meet, crossroads).
which seem to confirm "com" as a prefix. (Most, but not all of the "comp-" words also have a sense of "together".)

But I'm unclear as to "pitum". None of the "pi-" words at http://catholic.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin ... pi&ending= seem to fit.

I'd appreciate any guidance. Thanks.
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Re: compitum

Postby Alatius » Mon Sep 30, 2013 7:36 pm

According to Oxford Latin Dictionary, "compitum" is from "competō", which seems reasonable: a crossroad is called "compitum" because there the roads come together ("competunt").
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Re: compitum

Postby adrianus » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:02 pm

Ut Alatius dicit. In OLD et L&S dictionaria inspexi: quidam scribunt "compitum" per "e" litteram.
As Alatius says. And some also spell "compitum" with an "e", "competum".
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: compitum

Postby humanengr » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:30 am

[Duplicate post deleted]
Last edited by humanengr on Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: compitum

Postby humanengr » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:41 pm

[reposting]

Thank you both.

I had originally been dissuaded from competere because of the "i" vs. "e" issue, as latinlexicon.org shows competum as a Late Latin variant (Varr. L. L. 6, § 25 Mull.).

But now, following up on competere, I see that there might be a way to more explicitly incorporate a sense of "roads" (which is not apparent in the Oxford definition of competere) on the way to the "crossroads" definition of compitum.

Splitting competere into com and petere (as etymonline does for "compete") leads to "petition", which etymonline traces to "Latin petitionem (nominative petitio) "… a seeking, searching" and to the PIE root *pet-, also *pete- "to rush; to fly".

So, taking Oxford's various translations for competere -- agree, meet, coincide (happen at the same time) [from http://www.latin-dictionary.net/search/latin/competo] and the http://www.archives.nd.edu/cgi-bin/look ... em=competo translation as "come together" -- it seems that "competum" as crossroads arguably came from combining a sense of "meeting" or "coming together" with "seeking" or "flying" to yield a "meeting or coming together of paths", hence crossroads.
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Re: compitum

Postby adrianus » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:03 pm

Varro is not late. He was an older authority to many classical Roman writers.
Varro non est scriptor latinitatis serioris sed multis aevi classici scriptoribus vox magni momenti.

I thought Alatius was on the money with OLD, which says "competo...conp-. ( CON + PETO)...1 [of objects having a linear character] To come together, meet."
Alatius rem benè illustravit per definitionis in OLD designationem.

Varro, Liber Sextus, §25, wrote: "Compitalia dies attributus Laribus compitalibus; ideo ubi viae competunt tum in competis sacrificatur."

Plinius, Nat.2.80, wrote: "...Praeterquam ubi recti angulorum conpetant ictus..."
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: compitum

Postby humanengr » Thu Oct 03, 2013 6:33 am

Thanks for the correction re "late"; and for more of the OLD definition.

I see now that "peto" has senses of "go to", "travel to", and "seek" as well as "rush at" and "fly to" of the PIE root. All those yield the sense of route or "road" I was looking for.

Thanks again.
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